"In Africa there is a concept known as ‘ubuntu’ – the profound sense that we are human only through the humanity of others; that if we are to accomplish anything in this world it will in equal measure be due to the work and achievement of others.”
The Ubuntu programme
Community conservation across the globe
Ubuntu is an African philosophy which describes humanity; 'I am because we are'. Therefore, although we are individuals, we are very much interconnected, both as humans and as living beings on our planet. So we must strive to look after each other and the planet, no matter our differences.
Our Ubuntu programme partners schools here in the UK, with schools attached to our friends in South Africa, Nourish NPO, and aims to build on that very interconnectedness.
Nourish are based in Sigagule village on the edge of Kruger National Park and support some of the most poverty-stricken people in South Africa. They run an extensive education programme for the children in the surrounding areas. We aim to support that programme by connecting schools across the globe so they can learn from each other and work together to make our planet a better place.
What it involves
Community conservation across the globe.
The Ubuntu programme offers a unique opportunity to partner your school with amazing children on the other side of the planet. Children whose lives are very different to ours. Access to things we take for granted, like running water and electricity, are a daily battle in rural South Africa.
But what has that got to do with conservation? The area that Nourish operates in sits on the border of the famous Kruger National Park, which is home to biggest population of wild rhino left on the planet. The devastating levels of poverty mean that resilience of people in the community is low, which leads some people to make decisions like poaching for rhino. Rhino poaching in South Africa, in the last ten years, has gone through the roof with Kruger losing roughly 7,000 rhino for nothing more than the horn on their face. But they are not the only animals under the threat. Lions, elephants, pangolin and vultures all face the daily threat of poaching. Most people don't want to kill an animal, but when faced with whether your family can eat that night or not, that decision becomes tougher and so, until we address the causes of wildlife crime, we have no hope of stopping it.
So how can my school help? Many of the towns and villages around Kruger National Park feel cut off from the rest of the world. Whilst people travel from all around the globe, paying huge amounts of money to see Kruger's famous wildlife, it's a different story for those on the other side of the fence. Up until relatively recently it was illegal for black people to enter the likes of Kruger National Park, under the system of Apartheid. Thankfully, we have put those days behind us, however now it is economic restraints that mean many people in the surrounding towns and villages are excluded from Kruger. This means many local people have never seen the elephants, lions and rhino on their doorstep. Imagine being shut away from your own countries wildlife heritage because you couldn't afford to get in.
Our Ubuntu programme offers you the chance to support these children, funding trips into Kruger National Park, as well as other environmental day trips - thus helping to connect them to the nature that surrounds them and that they have been apart from for so long. You can also raise funds for key educational equipment like books and uniforms, and help give hope to these children. By supporting the communities you are also supporting the magnificent wildlife that they live along side. Protecting people and wildlife so that they can live in harmony alongside each other.
So what can we learn? Our Ubuntu programme is very much a two-way learning experience. We have so much to learn not only from African culture but also from the amazing work that Nourish does. Through regular communication and information-sharing, these are the kinds of things your school will be participating in:
At Nourish, there is the finest display of upcycling we have ever seen. When there is no waste collection in place you have to think outside the box to deal with the waste. Practically their whole village is made out of rubbish. Learn how to make curtains out of plastic bottles, walls out of eco bricks and herb gardens out of beer bottles. The learning possibilities are endless. Lets get upcycling.
School fundraisers can provide much-needed educational equipment for the children in South Africa, as well as funding environmental trips for the children into places like Kruger National Park - a place many will never get to see. They would love to tell you how it went.
Protecting our ecosystems and the flora and fauna that live there is of the upmost importance wherever you are on the planet. But how are people in Africa dealing with the ever-growing list environmental issues we are facing? Learn about wild dogs and cheetahs whilst sharing your knowledge of red deer and foxes.
Ever heard of Umqombothi or the medicine man? Africa is full of ancient traditions and ways of life that have been around for centuries. Whilst you learn about what it means to be Xitsonga, you can share what life is like growing up in a city in the UK or what games you like to play with your friends in school. Cultural diversity must unite us, not divide.
We are currently fundraising for a minibus for Nourish Eco Village. This will reduce the cost of their trips massively and allow them to take many more children into the likes of Kruger National Park to explore the natural world that is on their doorstep. By building that connection to wildlife and teaching young people the importance of protecting wildlife, we hope to build a generation of conservationists, who work hard to protect the environment and all the animals within in.